Agriculture MEPs reject cuts in the EU’s farm policy budget

“The EU cannot afford to cut the funding of its farm policy if it is to continue ensuring delivery of public goods to EU citizens,” according to the EU’s Agriculture Committee.

This statement comes in response to the Budget Committee’s plans on the future Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF).

The Agriculture Committee strongly opposed the substantial cuts in the post-2020 CAP budget as proposed by the European Commission.

It outlined that a modernised, well-funded Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) with a stable budget is needed.

The committee also agreed that the challenges faced by farmers such as ongoing climate and weather-related problems, as well as new environment-related rules that farmers must comply with, would justify a budget increase as opposed to cutbacks.

The agriculture MEPs noted that the EU needs a resilient, sustainable and competitive agricultural sector to provide high-quality and safe food at affordable prices to consumers.

Considering these factors, the Agriculture Committee noted that the CAP budget in the 2021-2027 MFF must be at least maintained at the current 2014-2020 level.

In order to plug the budget hole after Brexit, the committee suggested that EU member states increase their contribution to the EU’s budget to 1.3% of their Gross National Income (GNI).

It also called for maintaining the existing financial allocation for both the CAP’s first-pillar’s direct payments as an income safety net that should help finance the transition to more sustainable and more competitive agriculture, and for its second-pillar’s rural development funds.

MEPs welcomed the commission’s proposal to review the functioning of the crisis reserve; in particular, the possibility to carry-over the unused funds from one year to another.